Head and Spine Trauma

Also known as: head and spine injuries, spinal cord injuries, spinal injuries, brain and spine trauma, head and neck injuries

What is head and spine trauma?

Head and spine trauma refer to injuries or accidents that affect an individual’s brain and/or spinal cord. Concussion of the brain is a common occurrence in children especially while playing contact sports. This can be very disabling. Such children may be seen in the Concussion Clinic. Other traumatic brain injuries include intracranial blood clots, diffuse brain injury and fractures. These patients are best managed in a center capable of taking care of sick children and may be need to be admitted to the intensive care unit. Spinal injuries are also common and their treatment will need intensive management in the ICU and surgical stabilization in some cases.

What causes head and spine trauma?

In small babies injury can result from violent shaking or jolting of the head. In older children head and spine trauma is typically caused by accidents due to falls, vehicle crashes, sports or other causes.

What are the symptoms of head and spine trauma?

Symptoms of head and spine trauma will vary widely depending on the nature and severity of the injury. Concerning symptoms (which may occur soon after the injury or hours later) include, confusion, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, loss of movement or sensation, trouble with balance or walking, no bowel or bladder control or pain or pressure in the back, neck or head.

What are head and spine trauma care options?

Individuals who have experienced head and/or spine trauma should seek immediate medical care. In some cases, medications, surgery or stabilization techniques can help with healing. If the damage is severe, doctors can help with recovery and training to live with the disabilities that result from the injury.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 03:59 PM